A Russian appeal court’s decision to keep a second Pussy Riot punk band member behind bars for singing a protest song is further confirmation of the country’s dangerous slide towards greater suppression of free speech, Amnesty International said.
“In the space of days two young artists have once again been denied freedom when they should never have been arrested in the first place,” said Natalia Prilutskaya of Amnesty International’s Russia team.
Today the Supreme Court of the Republic of Mordovia turned down 23-year-old Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s parole appeal because she refuses to admit guilt for “hooliganism” and has twice been reprimanded at the penal colony where she has been imprisoned since last year.
Tolokonnikova maintains her innocence and said she will continue to appeal her sentence all the way to Russia’s Supreme Court.
On 24 July the Perm Regional Court upheld a previous decision to refuse to grant parole to Tolokonnikova’s bandmate, 25-year-old Maria Alekhina.